Just returned from a week's stay in Holbox at Casa Las Tortugas. We had a great time. The hotel is beautiful -- laid out in an artful nest of villas and balconies with thatched roofs and exposed beams. The staff at the front desk are helpful and friendly, and quickly accommodate any request they can. The rooms are whimsical and comfortable, and engineered to let the fresh breezes pass through.
The breakfasts that come with the stay were generally delicious. They would have 3 choices each day: scrambled eggs with an additive that changed from day to day (bacon, mushrooms, sausage) and a side of refried beans, a fruit dish, or a third choice that varied daily. The restaurant is set by the beach and overlooks the ocean, and if the breeze was pleasant, they would leave the glass doors to the beach open and you could dine al fresco (if it was too windy, they closed the glass doors).
The rooms varied significantly from one another -- each one is unique, and has its own name (as well as a pictogram at its entrance). We were in the "Honeymoon Room" (Luna de Miel), and our friends were in "Stars" (Estrella) and "Sun" (Sol). All 3 rooms were clustered together on the second floor of the rearmost building, which was very convenient for us. Stars and Sun were rather small rooms, but both had large balconies that featured swinging beds. The noise of golfcarts from the adjacent road could get a bit annoying, however. The Honeymoon room had a narrow balcony and a hammock -- not great for socializing on, but fine if you wanted to sit outside and nap.
The rooms and facility were kept clean by the ceaseless efforts of their housekeeping staff -- a daunting task in that the roads of Holbox as well as most of the ground floor of the hotel are made of sand, which gets tracked in everywhere. I advise removing your shoes or sandals when entering your room to minimize sand intrusion. We brought mosquito nets at the suggestion of other Holbox reviewers, but never needed them in our room. I did get bit a few times while we were sitting outside on the balcony, but not too badly, and the mosquito repellent I had packed soon stopped it.
The bed was okay -- a bit firmer than I like. Some of the pillows were as hard as cement. Our friends weren't too fond of their beds, and one couple said their best night of sleep was spent on their balcony on the swing bed.
The bathrooms were good and clean; hot water in the shower was very hot and showed up with little delay. The sink was only fitted with a cold water line. As other reviewers have noted, as a peculiarity of Holbox's plumbing and sanitation system, they request that you NOT flush toilet paper down the toilet (the toilet paper is also of the type one finds on a boat). There's no getting around the grossness of leaving an enfecaled wad of paper in one's trash can, but that's how it is. Don't say you weren't warned.
The location of the hotel is, in my opinion, the best in Holbox. It lies on the northeast corner of the town grid, which means that it is a short walk to and from all of the shops, restaurants, bars, and other offerings of Holbox, but it is also not besieged by them -- a perfect mix of town and country. Some of the other hotels and resorts are a bit isolated; others are subject to noise and traffic from their neighbors. Casa Las Tortugas is just right.
All of which brings us to the subject of noise: Casa Las Tortugas is built as a tightly-clustered village, with cement walls and floors, and louvered wooden doors and windows. They are great at letting fresh air in, but lousy at keeping noise out. At its closest point, our balcony was about 18 inches from the balcony at the next building over. All of which means that you will probably be able to hear your neighbors, and they will be able to hear you. Most of the time, people are keeping it down, so there's no problem, but if you are a noisy person (or easily irritated by the noise of others) you should be aware. As another reviewer mentioned, guests with beachfront rooms on the ground floor are basically sharing their patios with the rest of the hotel.
The restaurant at Casa Las Tortugas ("Mandarina," which deserves its own, separate review) is lovely and has great views. Service varies dramatically sometimes with the same server and within the same meal -- speedy at times, lethargic at others. We ate dinner there one night, and while it was good, many of the other restaurants in town did better (see "The Local List" on the Holbox Forum).
There is a Kiteboarding school on the premises of the hotel, and it looked like those guys were having a ball on the windy days.
The beach has tons of chaise lounges, hammocks, and swing beds for the taking. Plenty of space, and it doesn't get crowded. The beach did get a bit loaded with seaweed, although on the 5th day the ocean currents mysteriously carried it away.
There is an ATM in the lobby of the hotel, but it usually doesn't work.
As another reviewer comments, the "hot tub" section of the pool is not heated -- it is the same temperature as the pool water. The pool is clean and refreshing.
The room safe is user-programmable, and we used it to store our valuables.
Oddities of the room: the rooms don't feature dressers or bureaus, so you will be living out of your bag. There is a curtain rod in Luna de Miel, but it has a shelf with the room safe on it set below it, so it is useless for hanging any garment that is more than 8 inches long.
To wrap up, if you are considering a trip to Holbox, you are probably not the type of high-maintenance whiner that will complain about the few shortcomings of Casa Los Tortugas. Having examined its competitors closely, if I return to Holbox, I will not hesitate to stay here again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Beachfront boutique hotel, run by Italian family. 21 charming new rooms, Spa, Yoga center,Kiteboard school, Beach club and organic restaurant. The design influence of Francesca and her mother Greta is evident in the hotel’s 21 romantic rooms and suites, from the carefully sourced antiques and local artisan-made colonial-style furniture to the fine linens and contemporary twist on traditional Mexican fabrics. It’s a ‘bohemian-chic’ feel that fits perfectly with the relaxed ambiance of the resort. Add in roomy double-loungers and palapa daybeds on the beach – as well as a spacious new pool – and you have the perfect formula for lusciously lazy days. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Casa Las Tortugas - Petit Beach Hotel And Spa
- Casa Las Tortugas - Petit Beach Hotel Holbox Island
- Hotelito Casa Las Tortugas Hotel